Speedpass is a keychain RFID device introduced in 1997 by Mobil Oil Corp. (which merged with Exxon to become ExxonMobil in 1999) for electronic payment. It was originally developed by Verifone. As of 2004, more than seven million people possess Speedpass tags, which can be used at approximately 10,000 Exxon, Mobil and Esso gas stations worldwide. At one point, Speedpass was deployed experimentally in fast-food restaurants and supermarkets in select markets. McDonald's alone deployed Speedpass in over 400 Chicago area restaurants. The test was deemed a failure and McDonald's removed the scanners from all their restaurants in mid-2004. Additionally, the New England grocery chain Stop & Shop tested Speedpass at their Boston area stores; the units were removed in early 2005. Speedpass has also been previously available through a Speedpass Car Tag and a Speedpass-enabled Timex watch.

Speedpass was one of the first widely deployed consumer RFID payment systems of its kind, debuting nationwide in 1997 far ahead of today's VISA and MasterCard RFID trials, and the RFID/EPC (Electronic Product Code) privacy controversy.

Technology behind the Mobil Speedpass

The ExxonMobil Speedpass is based on the Texas Instruments TIRIS RFID platform. It was originally designed by Verifone in two configurations; one intended for installation inside the fuel dispensing "pump", and a convenience store model known as the Verifone RF250 (which was a redesign of the iSC250 reader for smart cards).

Security of the Mobil Speedpass

The ExxonMobil Speedpass uses a cryptographically-enabled tag with a Digital Signature Transponder (DST) which incorporates a weak, proprietary encryption scheme to perform a challenge-response protocol. On January 29, 2005, RSA Security and a group of students from Johns Hopkins University broke the proprietary encryption algorithm used by the Exxon-Mobil Speedpass. They were able to successfully copy a Speedpass and use the copied RFID tag to purchase gas.

In an attempt to prevent fraud, Speedpass users are now required to enter their zip code into scanners at some gas stations. [1]

Project history

During the 1998 development of the RF250 convenience store reader, some prototype units were shipped from Verifone in Rocklin, California, to a Verifone office in Florida. The units did not arrive on time and were thought to have been lost in transit. They were later found, and despite each unit having a Verifone logo and being encased in boxes showing the Verifone logo; the shipping company had nothing in their lost goods database showing that name. Rather, the units turned up via a query for "flying red horse", apparently since the units displayed a small Mobil logo—and the Mobil logo was and is a red Pegasus. The internal codename for the project was thus changed to "Flying Red Horse" [2]

Exxon Mobil has announced that the RFID based key tag will be fully retired by June 30, 2019. Exxon Mobil is directing users to use the Speedpass+ app on their smartphone. The smart phone app uses the phones location data to pay at the pump using the app. The app detects the users location which then prompts the user to input the pump number they are using. Conversely if location services are not activated for the app, the user can scan a QR code on the pump to activate pay at the pump functionality.

See also


  1. "Speedpass". Speedpass.com. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  2. "W6DTW : Flying Red Horse". W6dtw.blogspot.com. 7 May 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
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